Conveyor system downtime is a constant threat to a continuously profitable operation. The importance of proper maintenance and ongoing support is paramount to keeping orders shipped on time and clients satisfied. Unplanned downtime can cost companies up to $250,000 per hour, with 82% of businesses experiencing at least one system outage over the past three years (source).
How do you avoid those monumental losses? Here are a few options your business can take to proactively prepare against downtime.
- Preventative Maintenance Service Plans
- Hotline Support Agreements
- On-site Repair Services
- Spare Parts Inventory Management Programs
- System Retrofits & Modernizations
1. Preventative Maintenance Service Plan
Some systems run 24/7 and are vital to keeping your operations effective. With hundreds of moving parts and sometimes a complex controls network, it is inevitable something will need to be replaced or repaired, often at the worst possible time.
Avoid the costs and frustrations of downtime and schedule a system audit followed by a comprehensive quarterly, or bi-yearly preventive maintenance program.
A team of experienced certified technicians will walk through your system validating each unit/component, age and condition, available working hours, and more during the initial audit. An optimized Preventative Maintenance plan and associated cost will then be developed for review and implementation.
2. Hotline Live Support (24/7)
Certain integrators may offer live digital support, to guide your designated controls engineer to a solution. This can be achieved by using a VPN to remotely control your system, allowing the support agent to view all error codes, make corrections, and guide your team accordingly.
For example, if an emergency stop cord is pulled, it is a relatively easy fix via the control system, but only if your controller can identify the issue. Instead of sending out a maintenance team, a support agent can remotely clear the codes and restore the system quickly.
When contracting with an integrator, ensure that they have this service as part of the proposal. Century Conveyor Systems includes a year of hotline support with every solution purchase, as well as multi-tiered options depending on the complexity.
3. On-call Emergency Repair
System downtime can occur due to factors often outside the control of normal operations. Life cycle wear, operator errors, power fluctuations, etc. cannot be predicted from an occurrence perspective. Even with an internal maintenance team, a specialist may be needed to address and remedy the situation.
Century can dispatch a team of certified technicians to your location in 24-48 hours and when layered with a Hotline Support Agreement, may even be able to resolve the problem within hours.
Our emergency repair service is within a call away as a safety net in the event of a system failure.
4. Spare Parts Optimization Programs
Downtime is typically the issue of a single component failing, bringing operations to a stop. Like a chain, if one link is broken, nothing works. Now you are scrambling to order a new part from the manufacturer, and then need to get it installed. Unfortunately, depending on the part, you could be waiting weeks or even months.
The solution? Allocate some space in your warehouse (ideally a small section of shelving) towards spare parts. Proactively order components and replenish anything that is used. This can span from common cables and photo eyes to large motors and compressors.
The upfront cost of a spare part is negligible compared to the monetary loss of a system shutdown until the part is received and installed.
If you’re looking to stock up on spare conveyor parts, we may be able to help out.
5. System Retrofits and Modernization
The business drivers of a facility operation are constantly changing with things like labor shortages, SKU proliferation, and the shift to e-commerce fulfillment changing order profiles and product handling requirements. This often requires adjustments to existing systems to accommodate these changes.
Technology is always advancing very rapidly in the material handling industry. Automation is constantly being upgraded to something faster, more efficient & accurate providing improved throughput and functionality.
As demand for distribution efficiency increases due to many influencing factors, now may be the time to evaluate your system. Adjustments can be made piecemeal to keep overall system costs lower, but still benefit the functionality and efficiency of your system.
Don’t find your operations stalled and unable to produce the scheduled output. Build a maintenance plan, explore support and emergency options, keep a spare parts supply stock, and retrofit older systems. Century Conveyor Systems is dedicated to the integrity of your operations. We offer all these services and more as a full-service automation integrator. Bring us your problems and we will work towards an innovative solution, together.